Author Topic: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018  (Read 59939 times)

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #400 on: March 25, 2018, 07:35:51 PM »
We were $17 over. I have no idea what my husband bought last time he went to Costco, but it was $60 over our normal bill. So, that's pretty much that. We're still doing better than last year (or, previous years). We're done shopping for March, so I'm happy we got it close. I know we can do better, though.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #401 on: March 26, 2018, 06:18:18 AM »
Not as good this week, but not horrible -- $72 groceries (more than I anticipated given that DH/DD are out of town as of Thursday, but I forgot I needed Passover stuff), plus $15 for snow-day bagels for the kids.  Which brings the should-be-final monthly total to $565 groceries, $160 HH, and $148 takeout.

Of course, $200 of that is attributable to my NYC splurge, so I'd say my "normal" spend is reasonably on track.  Just have to work harder on planning better for leftovers and getting the takeout more under control again -- am becoming too fond of the pizza-and-ice-cream place two blocks away. :-)

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #402 on: March 26, 2018, 08:22:26 AM »
I'm mostly pleased with us.

My goal is $125/week.  For the first four weeks in March, we've spent $416 -$84 under budget.  We're hosting the family for Easter next weekend, so I'll have to go to the store again on Saturday, but I'm confident I'll still be under $125.

Our eating out, on the other hand, is over $250 for the month.  We've had to throw away some food, so it isn't that the grocery bill is artificially low because we eat out, but we eat out in addition because....lots of reasons.


Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #403 on: March 26, 2018, 08:41:16 AM »
Not to be preachy, but can you take one weekend day and get help from spouse to whip up some stuff to have in your freezer so you can avoid take out? You can even freeze spaghetti and rice. I have cooked meatballs, cooked ground meat, cooked cheeseburgers, cooked chicken breasts, breaded fish patties, frozen veggies and hamburger rolls in the freezer. I also stock up on chicken pot pies when on sale. On a night when I am not in the mood there is plenty to pull out of the freezer. There is always grilled cheese sammies and soup and frozen pizza. Tuna sammies are good too with lettuce and tomato.

Hub buys a big box of hamburgers and will cook up six or 8 at a time and add cheese. I wrap them up individually and freeze. Only takes around a minute from frozen to hot in the microwave.

We buy big packages of hamburger and whip up meatballs and bake in the oven, drain the grease, then freeze. So many meals you can make with them. We will also cook up ground meat with onions, drain off grease, place in vacuum bag or ziplock and freeze flat. I have bags of spaghetti sauce with hamburger frozen. If you freeze spaghetti, rinse with cold water and drain well, then add it to a ziplock and add a good splash of olive oil, toss, then seal and freeze flat.

Hot dogs and beans are good now and then too!

Just some ideas to help you out.

I had some waste the other day and should have frozen it. Made a lentil soup type thing and it made a lot. I ate it probably 4 times and hub once. I had a lot leftover and bleh, didn't want anymore so tossed it. I do not like to waste food but sometimes enough is enough!

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #404 on: March 26, 2018, 09:33:04 AM »
For us, the problem tends to be lack of planning when we're out.  I usually have a few frozen or canned things we can whip up when we're busy at home.

I blame half of this month on volleyball.  We went to the first volleyball tournament and didn't bring snacks.  The tournament was running hours late...so by the time it ended we were starving and still an hour from home.

The next tournament we coordinated the other parents to bring a picnic, but the instructions weren't clear so some only brought enough for the kids, not for the parents to share....so out again.

The other half of the the overage is social occasions with friends.  There's been a lot of celebrating lately.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #405 on: March 26, 2018, 10:01:13 AM »
Perfectly understandable when you are away from home it is hard to plan.

How about this idea. Buy some cold cuts like ham, cheese and turkey breast. Bring along hard rolls or a loaf of bread. Some mustard or a small jar of mayo. Bring some chips, fruit and have each kid make their own sammie. Towels and paper plates, knives forks and some cups for seltzer with a splash of juice. Pack in an ice chest and go! Hand sanitizer too!

Here ia another 'outrageous' idea! Here is a crockpot thing you can plug into your car outlet and warm up something for dinner! Chicken, rice and peas. Hot dogs and beans. Chili. https://www.amazon.com/RoadPro-RPSL-350-Quart-Slow-Cooker/dp/B0013IR88A

I would probably warm up leftovers rather than trying to cook raw meat. Like cooked chicken meat mixed with rice and peas and cream of mushroom soup. Costco has this canned roast beef that is REALLY GOOD! You could make a barbeque beef and put on buns. It comes in chunks. You could throw some frozen meatballs and some spaghetti sauce and bring some grinder rolls.

Okay, I am a Debbie Downer...

Eating out is fun too!




MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #406 on: March 26, 2018, 10:27:13 AM »
@formerlydivorcedmom - our kids play in a lot of soccer tournaments, so totally understand. Until we got the hang of it, we definitely ate out more than normal. Here are a few things we do:

-Always pack meals, even if it appears we won't need them. Something regularly comes up, so we have the food handy. If for whatever reason you don't need them, you can always eat the food at home.
-Bring lots of snacks, & water.
-If there is a kids meal planned out as part of the tournament, the adults still pack food. In fact, my youngest still prefers pasta in a thermos over pretty much anything else, so we'll get him a snack, so he can be part of the group, but then he eats the rest in the car.
-Buy gift cards to Subway/Panera (the two most common tournament eat out options for us) at a discount for an emergency
-We also plan quick & easy freezer meals for when we get home, because that can be another budget killer

It gets easier with more experience! :-)

zeli2033

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #407 on: March 30, 2018, 02:03:37 PM »
Sigh. This month was a hot mess. I have no excuse - we just stopped trying and and reverted back to old, lazypants behavior. Our food spending hit $1,056 - $256 more than the budget for the month. Eating food out hit $339. Ugh...it's painful even writing it out.

At least we can say it honestly wasn't fun. We are ready to recommit to the goal for April.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #408 on: March 31, 2018, 12:39:12 PM »
Not as good this week, but not horrible -- $72 groceries (more than I anticipated given that DH/DD are out of town as of Thursday, but I forgot I needed Passover stuff), plus $15 for snow-day bagels for the kids.  Which brings the should-be-final monthly total to $565 groceries, $160 HH, and $148 takeout.

Of course, $200 of that is attributable to my NYC splurge, so I'd say my "normal" spend is reasonably on track.  Just have to work harder on planning better for leftovers and getting the takeout more under control again -- am becoming too fond of the pizza-and-ice-cream place two blocks away. :-)

Well, I should know better than to count chickens before Iíve bought them all.  Between some grocery stuff I forgot and me getting sick and DH reverting to takeout, my numbers ballooned to $604 groceries, $160 HH, and $210 takeout.  Blerg.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #409 on: March 31, 2018, 01:14:07 PM »
Laura33, you always make me smile when I read your posts!

It is just the Hub and me and we don't really try to stick to a budget. I know I am being sacrilegious but I try to shop smart and pick up the bargains as they become available.  I don't stress out on trying to stick to a dollar amount per month and once in a while we splurge. Hub had some excellent lab results which we were pretty stressed out about till the doctor told us they were as good as they could get. We celebrated by eating lunch out and splurged big time! But we are back on track eating cheeseburgers, tomorrow will be Chicken Teriyaki in the crockpot and eggplant parmesan the next night. Nothing exotic!

Picked up boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.99 a lb. for the Chicken Teriyaki. It is a jumbo family pack so we will eat several meals on it and probably freeze the rest for sammies later on. Package was around $8 so will make many meals!

I feel that if you buy the bargains and use your food up and not tossing the leftovers in the garbage you are being frugal to a certain extent. Eating out is expensive and our celebration lunch, with generous tip cost us $75. We each had two alcoholic drinks which is the kiss of death on eating out. I didn't care!

We are retired and rarely eat out so when we do, it is a splurge we enjoy!

Any chance you can get your Hub on board by asking him to take over some cooking for the family? Maybe if he feels more responsibility, he might take it more seriously and stop take out stuff!

Take care, hope you feel better!

kaypinkHH

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #410 on: April 02, 2018, 07:36:10 AM »
Another month done, and this one I'm calling a success!

According to Mint:
Groceries~ $600
Restaurant*~ $126
Coffee Shops/Fast Food- $0!!!
Alcohol and Bars- $0!!!

My goal this month was to cut the out of the house food spending, due to all my meal prepping, we were able to avoid a lot of quick runs to pick up food.

*Out of the house food spending:
- Thai food take out with my parents- Goal for April is to learn some quick and easy thai food recipes to replace the need for take out.
- Sugar shack breakfast with Mr.HH. Not needed per-say, but $40 well spent. Lovely seasonal local food, and we menu hacked to get a better deal on our breakfast (split some orders etc.)

My parents paid me back for the 1/2 the thai food in cash, and I figure we spent that cash on the following food items:
- Beer (6.50), Pop (4.50) and Fries (6) at a hockey game (beer and pop not needed, fries 100% worth it haha).
- 1 Coffee (2.30) during travel forgot a travel mug, could have been avoided :(
- 1 Ham and Cheese Croissant from a local bakery for lunch one day when errands took longer than planned, only $3.20, yes could have been avoided, but for $3.20 I'm not going to worry about it too much.
- $10ish thrown in to order pizza with a group at a party, way easier than packing our own dinner.

Normally I don't track cash items, but it is cool to get to a point where we are spending out of the house so infrequently that we can track to that level!

We still could work on reducing our grocery spend more, but we are shopping the sales, stocking up on cheap meats, and doing meal prep, so I still think the grocery spend will level out in May/June. Considering this month we hosted people at our house 3 weekends, traveled 1 weekend, and had a house warming party, overall not too bad!

(I pivoted my tracking table attached, the other way made no sense).
 
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 07:55:42 AM by kaypinkHH »

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #411 on: April 02, 2018, 08:13:08 AM »
I budget $125/weekend for groceries, and there were 5 weekends this month.  That means we could have spent $625...but the real grocery spend was only $599! This included about $60 of pure, unnecessary, quite tasty junk food (I should not be allowed to go to the grocery store with kids when I'm sick), as well as the costs of Easter (hosted 5 relatives for dinner + candy for the kids).

I really wonder now how the heck I ever managed to spend $200/week at the grocery store - consistently!

Eating out added up to an additional $252 this month - $70 was husband's work lunches/vending machine purchases that I have given up lowering.  $45 was me eating out with friends (twice my budget), and the rest were family meals or treating the kids to lunch. It's actually lower than I thought it would be (we were worse at the beginning of the month), but still too high.

frooglepoodle

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #412 on: April 02, 2018, 08:40:24 AM »
Spent $602 on groceries last month. My April goal is also to be in the ballpark of $600, including restocking the freezer with Instant Pot/crockpot meals, plus pay our CSA fee for the season ($650 for a 6 month season, starting mid-May). My hope is that the ~$110 per month for the CSA will offset more than $150 of other grocery spending for the season.

Some new-to-me recipes I'm looking forward to trying this month:
Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal
PB&J breakfast bars
Spinach & artichoke quesadillas
Tuna risotto pie

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #413 on: April 02, 2018, 08:45:06 PM »
March totals for a family of 4, including 11 & 12 year old boys. Both play sports 4+ days/week, so have a big appetite:
Groceries. Budget was $625. Spent $642
Dining out. Budget was $150. Spent $130

We can do better on groceries, still. We didn't throw much of anything away, meal planned, made & froze leftovers, etc. But, things add up. I have a few ideas for April to start trimming.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2018, 07:38:31 AM by MaybeBabyMustache »

Novik

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #414 on: April 03, 2018, 07:21:09 AM »
March totals - no idea, haven't added it up yet, but expect in the 350-400$ range, so fine.

April is the start of the one income budget though, with a 350$ cap on groceries (or 80$ a week to account for 5 weekend months). And yesterday we shopped for three big meals and acquired many staples for 74$*, so that's a win right there!

Hope to be able to keep this up going forward... I think it will get easier as my partner will have more time to make bread, hummus etc.

(*I feel I should admit I did use 20$ in PC points, but that was to pay for the OTC drugs @ 17$ incl tax... so even adding the 3$ back in we're ok)

mountain mustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #415 on: April 03, 2018, 07:37:00 AM »
March totals were:

Groceries $300, actual was $330
Restaurants $30, actual was $42...I went out a few times this month, which is unusual...going through a breakup, it was good to have some friend support and a little wine, haha!

I did pay my upfront fruit CSA fee this month, which was $315, but I don't count that in for this months groceries since it separates out by the week.

I'm actually happy about this, because just 3 months ago I was spending $500-$600 a month on groceries, without even realizing it! I'm just one person, but I love buying local and organic food, and sometimes impulsively shopping at the little health food store in my neighborhood, when I feel like trying a new recipe. It has been really hard to get it down in the $300s, but I'm stoked! And I think I'll be able to do even better in the Summer, when fresh produce is easier to come by. I live in a super high cost of living area, in a tiny town...so for example, a pound of apples (doesn't matter what kind), not even organic, is regularly $1.99/lb...organic is like $3.99! Onions, potatoes, etc are never under $1.00/lb, and eggs are $3.99. So it is a struggle to get it down to those super low numbers I see everyone else quoting. But, I'm working on it!

FireHiker

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #416 on: April 03, 2018, 12:47:37 PM »
March was SO bad. I'm genuinely embarrassed about it. I'm not even sure I can bring myself to share the ghastly numbers. I know it's still down from a two years ago, but we ate out a TON.

April will be questionable: we leave Friday night for an 8 night trip in Europe (trying not to freak out too much about the rail strike since we'll be in Paris; so far our trains are not canceled). I plan to enjoy myself there and not worry about it too much, although I will track our spending. When we get back from Europe I will be getting serious about meal planning and a much healthier diet so we'll see how the month turns out.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #417 on: April 04, 2018, 06:29:37 AM »
The only other thing you might do is to do an internet search to see if you can get the Vega shakes cheaper thru another supplier. Maybe you have already done this but product prices can be so different from one place to another. Also, some offer free shipping.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #418 on: April 04, 2018, 08:58:15 AM »
How many meals of the Vega shake to you have per day to lose 70 lbs! That is fantastic!

Does it really keep you full? I find within no time I am hungry after drinking a shake. I am hungry a lot and need to lose weight!

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #419 on: April 04, 2018, 10:52:59 AM »
@Roadrunner53 -- Thanks, you are always so nice and supportive.  I won't bore you with the details, but no, he's not going to cook -- he doesn't cook, enjoys buying whatever he wants, and has no desire to cut back, so putting him in charge of buying and cooking would likely increase our budget.  :-)  My focus is really on what I can control, and on finding a happy medium between frugality as a normal baseline with sufficient splurges/extras that DH and the kids enjoy. 

Which, though, means that I really shouldn't account for all the times when I am out of town and DH gets takeout.  And you know, I started out this way, only "counting" the stuff that I am accountable for.  I think I got away from that in an effort to better track the "real" number, but the reality is that it just makes me feel bad because of things that I can't control, so I think it's better to just go back to my own numbers and leave him to get what he gets.

Of course, that still leaves me on the hook for the $50 in takeout I let DD talk me into last night.  :-)  No time for shopping/cooking this weekend again, so out of my routine and susceptible to the teenage please.  But now DH is out of town, and I can easily scrabble through on leftovers for the rest of the week, so maybe I can count it as a "shopping" trip that just involved pizza and the new Krispy Kreme store.  ;-)

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #420 on: April 04, 2018, 01:35:38 PM »
Laura33, What is it your husband craves when he does take out? Is there some specific food he craves? Chinese is one food that I could never master so that would be off my list! Tell us what he likes...maybe some ideas will surface!


Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #421 on: April 04, 2018, 07:02:13 PM »
Laura33, What is it your husband craves when he does take out? Is there some specific food he craves? Chinese is one food that I could never master so that would be off my list! Tell us what he likes...maybe some ideas will surface!

Different.  Just different.  He likes all sorts of ethnicities, and everything from hole-in-the-wall to fine dining.  I am a good cook and have gotten good in some areas and decent in others, but I still canít cook everything from every variety of local ethnic food.  I have some great Chinese recipes, and can make a few Thai options, but am completely SOL on Indian.

FYI if you want an accessible inroad into Asian food, try 101 Easy Asian Recipes - itís by the guys who did Lucky Peach, and the name is tongue-in-cheek, but the recipes really are easy, and the flavors are spot-on and frankly better than most restaurants around here.  My favorite part is where they give you the lists of the various condiments to have on hand, by brand.

Basenji

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #422 on: April 04, 2018, 07:10:11 PM »
Laura33, What is it your husband craves when he does take out? Is there some specific food he craves? Chinese is one food that I could never master so that would be off my list! Tell us what he likes...maybe some ideas will surface!

Different.  Just different.  He likes all sorts of ethnicities, and everything from hole-in-the-wall to fine dining.  I am a good cook and have gotten good in some areas and decent in others, but I still canít cook everything from every variety of local ethnic food.  I have some great Chinese recipes, and can make a few Thai options, but am completely SOL on Indian.

FYI if you want an accessible inroad into Asian food, try 101 Easy Asian Recipes - itís by the guys who did Lucky Peach, and the name is tongue-in-cheek, but the recipes really are easy, and the flavors are spot-on and frankly better than most restaurants around here.  My favorite part is where they give you the lists of the various condiments to have on hand, by brand.

Jumping in completely out of the blue. Indian is totally doable! I'd say easier than Thai and Chinese in some ways because it is often just a wet braise. The main obstacle is getting the spices in hand. What does he order specifically from Indian menus?

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #423 on: April 04, 2018, 08:00:33 PM »
Laura33, What is it your husband craves when he does take out? Is there some specific food he craves? Chinese is one food that I could never master so that would be off my list! Tell us what he likes...maybe some ideas will surface!

Different.  Just different.  He likes all sorts of ethnicities, and everything from hole-in-the-wall to fine dining.  I am a good cook and have gotten good in some areas and decent in others, but I still canít cook everything from every variety of local ethnic food.  I have some great Chinese recipes, and can make a few Thai options, but am completely SOL on Indian.

FYI if you want an accessible inroad into Asian food, try 101 Easy Asian Recipes - itís by the guys who did Lucky Peach, and the name is tongue-in-cheek, but the recipes really are easy, and the flavors are spot-on and frankly better than most restaurants around here.  My favorite part is where they give you the lists of the various condiments to have on hand, by brand.

Jumping in completely out of the blue. Indian is totally doable! I'd say easier than Thai and Chinese in some ways because it is often just a wet braise. The main obstacle is getting the spices in hand. What does he order specifically from Indian menus?

He likes lamb vindaloo or lamb pasanda.  I like chicken tikka or paneer masala or seekh kebab.  And I would love to know how to make ras malai, which is just like manna from heaven to me.  My biggest problem is that I hate the standard curry spice blend - I donít even know which particular spice it is, but there is something in there that I just canít stand, which makes me a little timid to try new recipes since I donít know the flavor profile.

Basenji

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #424 on: April 04, 2018, 08:04:37 PM »
Jumping in completely out of the blue. Indian is totally doable! I'd say easier than Thai and Chinese in some ways because it is often just a wet braise. The main obstacle is getting the spices in hand. What does he order specifically from Indian menus?

He likes lamb vindaloo or lamb pasanda.  I like chicken tikka or paneer masala or seekh kebab.  And I would love to know how to make ras malai, which is just like manna from heaven to me.  My biggest problem is that I hate the standard curry spice blend - I donít even know which particular spice it is, but there is something in there that I just canít stand, which makes me a little timid to try new recipes since I donít know the flavor profile.

Strokes chin, I see, I see. I'll be back in a bit. Yeah, first thing is you will not use a standard curry mix, you will make your own (and it really won't be that hard).

Basenji

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #425 on: April 04, 2018, 09:12:37 PM »
OK, Mustachian Indian. I'll be working on this as a project now. I'm not an expert, but I do I cook Indian fairly often.

You probably know that Madhur Jaffrey is a big name in Indian cookbooks. Your library will have one of her many books. I'm also collecting some web recipes and I'm going to try some out and see which do not require a ridiculous investment in spices. The spices are the main obstacle to keeping cost down. Lamb Vindaloo is a good one because it doesn't require that many "strange" spices (being influenced by Portuguese cuisine). Here's an example: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pork-or-lamb-vindaloo

Another aspect that I would like to test is how a recipe freezes and reheats so you can make extra and have an insta-takeout when DH gets the urge. For example, nan freezes well.

I'm not trying to be insulting by posting links (I am quite aware you know how to Google), but more to show examples. I'm going to also comment on all the "extras" like rice and bread. Ooh, this is a fun challenge. More to come. If I'm not headed in the right direction, just let me know.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #426 on: April 05, 2018, 04:27:17 AM »
Laura33, this is totally our of my league! I can't say I have ever even eaten Indian food except Madras Lentils from Costco. Not sure that is even representative of Indian food! Have not eaten Thai food either. Not that I wouldn't but in my town there are very few ethnic restaurants. Come to think of it, there is a Thai restaurant. Maybe I will have to check it out!

Should be interesting to see what Basenji comes up with!

In the mean time, I found these kits you could buy and whip up.

https://indianmealkit.com/t/meal-kits

https://www.amazon.com/Sukhis-Gourmet-Indian-Foods-Gluten-Free/dp/B00TT65DG2/ref=sr_1_17_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1522923790&sr=8-17&keywords=indian+vindaloo

Well, since I don't have much of a clue, I will leave it at that!

Sometimes you gotta have a little SOUL food to break up the monotony!

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #427 on: April 05, 2018, 04:57:39 AM »
Laura33, My brain cells are spinning this morning! This is a new idea I have come up with.

In my town we have a few restaurants (Italian) that advertise that they will cater. In the ad it will show big trays of lasagna or manicotti or stuffed shells. You get the picture. Maybe you could call one of your favorite Indian or other ethnic restaurant and tell them you are having a party and need one big tray of Chicken Tikka and one tray of lamb vindaloo or lamb pasanda. Then when you get it home break it down into normal portions and freeze it. If there are any delicate things they might add, ask them to put them on the side so they don't get mushy. This might not save a ton of money but it might save some and if nothing else, you know what you spent rather than what your hub will spend. Maybe keep a variety of his favorites in the freezer so he can pull that out when the desire strikes. Not sure the quality of frozen ethnic foods but I have pretty good luck with everything else including rice, beans and spaghetti.

Just another hair brained idea of mine!

Basenji

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #428 on: April 05, 2018, 06:34:07 AM »
Laura33, My brain cells are spinning this morning! This is a new idea I have come up with.

In my town we have a few restaurants (Italian) that advertise that they will cater. In the ad it will show big trays of lasagna or manicotti or stuffed shells. You get the picture. Maybe you could call one of your favorite Indian or other ethnic restaurant and tell them you are having a party and need one big tray of Chicken Tikka and one tray of lamb vindaloo or lamb pasanda. Then when you get it home break it down into normal portions and freeze it. If there are any delicate things they might add, ask them to put them on the side so they don't get mushy. This might not save a ton of money but it might save some and if nothing else, you know what you spent rather than what your hub will spend. Maybe keep a variety of his favorites in the freezer so he can pull that out when the desire strikes. Not sure the quality of frozen ethnic foods but I have pretty good luck with everything else including rice, beans and spaghetti.

Just another hair brained idea of mine!

I love out-of-the-box thinking! I'm going to look at our local Indian take out menu and compare the prices against what someone can do at home.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #429 on: April 05, 2018, 07:54:37 AM »
@Laura33 - one suggestion I have for the dining out. Do your local restaurants ever offer discounted gift cards? We have one place that is our go to. (It's not even a top favorite of mine, but works well for the kids, & is reasonably priced). When they have discounted gift cards, free meal passes, etc, we stock up. They also have a frequent diner program that sends discounted promotions. We take advantage of that to reduce the cost of eating out. I've come around to accepting that, when I'm traveling for work (8-10 weeks/year), my husband and the kids will eat out at least once, and will eat Costco pizza and the like as well. Planning for this & getting good deals has helped to reduce the outlay.

fuzzy math

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #430 on: April 05, 2018, 08:16:08 AM »
Jumping in! Family of 5 who recently switched to Aldi and even more recently quit SAMs club. Due to family visiting last week and our SAMs membership ending, we spent about $400 extra on food / alcohol.

My normal budget is now $400 but I'm going to challenge myself to $350 for April.

So far for April  $20 / 350. Not a wise purchase either (grocery deli take out and a kombucha). Everyone at the house is sick and my DH had surgery so it was kind of necessary. going to Aldi today to pick up the bare basics after I look through our crowded fridge to determine which left overs are still edible. The one upside is that we have chickens and the vast majority of our food waste goes to them, which lowers their feed needs.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #431 on: April 05, 2018, 08:25:38 AM »
Jumping in! Family of 5 who recently switched to Aldi and even more recently quit SAMs club. Due to family visiting last week and our SAMs membership ending, we spent about $400 extra on food / alcohol.

My normal budget is now $400 but I'm going to challenge myself to $350 for April.

Welcome!

I obviously need to be going shopping with you - my family of 5 budget is $125/week.

Does your number include pet food and household items (toilet paper, etc)?


4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #432 on: April 05, 2018, 08:52:40 AM »
@Laura33 I don't have cooking advice, but I also have a DH who loves diversity of flavors and restaurants.  I've had luck with fancy frozen meals.  Some of them are $4.50 (an Indian one with a piece of naan included) a piece, so NOT thrifty.  However, my DH is also lazy...so it's way easier to heat up something in the microwave than wait for delivery (and about $30 cheaper). 

I need to get on my tracking again!  We ordered a bunch of "fancy" ramen, so my DH is in heaven.  Carbs! New flavors! And...super easy for me. 

With @kaypinkHH 's help, I executed a weekly meal plan.  However, my DH refused to eat most of the dishes, so I am still trying to get through all of the meals.  Luckily the butter chicken freezes well, so I have about half of it still in my freezer. 

fuzzy math

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #433 on: April 05, 2018, 09:04:20 AM »
Jumping in! Family of 5 who recently switched to Aldi and even more recently quit SAMs club. Due to family visiting last week and our SAMs membership ending, we spent about $400 extra on food / alcohol.

My normal budget is now $400 but I'm going to challenge myself to $350 for April.

Welcome!

I obviously need to be going shopping with you - my family of 5 budget is $125/week.

Does your number include pet food and household items (toilet paper, etc)?

My pet food is prescription so no, and TP has historically been bought at Costco / SAMs which I just stocked up on so it is a quarterly type purchase instead of weekly/monthly. We use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning. MY biggest recommendation re: TP is to get a $50 bidet from Home Depot or Amazon... Will help stretch those $$s much further.

And $350 is going to be a challenge! I had recently gone to one of those salvage grocery stores a few times and have approx $300 worth of snack bars and sauces that I got for $40 which we are working on. My pantry is shamefully overstocked right now.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #434 on: April 05, 2018, 09:17:03 AM »
Lalllura33 here are some frozen grocery store Indian foods. You can put in your zipcode to see where you can buy this stuff. https://saffronroad.com/store-locator/

Buying bulk:

https://www.foodservicedirect.com/search/indian

https://www.foodservicedirect.com/search/thai

kaypinkHH

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #435 on: April 05, 2018, 09:28:16 AM »
@4alpacas Oh no, I'm sad your husband refused to eat them, good attempt though!

I'm super happy that Mr.HH (and I) are probably the least pickiest eaters in the world. Only thing I can't eat is lobster, (which really impacts my MMM ways haha), and Mr.HH doesn't love olives/capers/pickles etc. but will eat them if served in a dish. Literally everything else is fair game.

Even with all my meal prep/planning ahead we still have a back up frozen pizza and a few "microwave" style meals to get us through days where we forget to defrost something. Definitely better than take out!

I'm planning my grocery run for tomorrow...another round of mega cooking coming this weekend! I think now that I have my takeout/coffee/restaurant spending reigned in, it is time to start optimizing food prices. We shop at No Frills (Canadian equivalent of Aldi) and the prices at the "normal" stores boggle my mind.  We do a tiny bit of shopping at Costco, and then have discovered a local meat/fruit/veg market that does weekly CRAZY SALES. Like this week broccoli is $0.47/lb. Getting ALL the broccoli. We don't eat a ton of meat, we do eat a ton of eggs and cheese. Still have not started soaking beans vs buying canned beans. Must. Start. Soaking. 

It does make me think though that we have already implemented quite a few frugal aspects and we are still spending ~$500 a month on groceries (2.9 people hehe). (Yes we have extras in our freezer). I can't even imagine that bill if we were shopping at the "normal" stores or if we were big meat eaters.

Basenji

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #436 on: April 05, 2018, 10:52:20 AM »
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 11:01:27 AM by Basenji »

kaypinkHH

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #437 on: April 05, 2018, 11:54:34 AM »
Wow those are quite a few links!! The mega threads are overwhelming!

Cross posted over on the Meal Planning thread, but here is my latest mega food meal prep plan if people are looking for ideas.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/15ky4hJH8AYYufcW1_peTPxlmMmRch_jF1kuS7so82WE/edit?usp=sharing

Grocery run tonight, we shall see what the damage is!

Edit: One of the recipe items was wild rice. I had no idea how expensive that was! Basmati rice it is!!!
« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 04:45:18 AM by kaypinkHH »

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #438 on: April 05, 2018, 01:39:20 PM »
Jumping in! Family of 5 who recently switched to Aldi and even more recently quit SAMs club. Due to family visiting last week and our SAMs membership ending, we spent about $400 extra on food / alcohol.

My normal budget is now $400 but I'm going to challenge myself to $350 for April.

Welcome!

I obviously need to be going shopping with you - my family of 5 budget is $125/week.

Does your number include pet food and household items (toilet paper, etc)?

My pet food is prescription so no, and TP has historically been bought at Costco / SAMs which I just stocked up on so it is a quarterly type purchase instead of weekly/monthly. We use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning. MY biggest recommendation re: TP is to get a $50 bidet from Home Depot or Amazon... Will help stretch those $$s much further.

And $350 is going to be a challenge! I had recently gone to one of those salvage grocery stores a few times and have approx $300 worth of snack bars and sauces that I got for $40 which we are working on. My pantry is shamefully overstocked right now.

That makes me feel better :)  I include the household items and food for the aging pug from Costco in my grocery budget too.

If there was room for a bidet in the kids' bathroom I would totally get one.  That would solve several problems.

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #439 on: April 06, 2018, 07:19:17 AM »
@Laura33 I'm moving the home-cooked Indian experiment over to my new journal. Don't want to derail this thread. Working on some recipes this weekend.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #440 on: April 06, 2018, 08:20:13 AM »
You guys are awesome - thanks!

SachaFiscal

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #441 on: April 06, 2018, 10:39:55 AM »
I'm starting to focus on reducing my grocery spending this month.  I've been tracking our spending on groceries for the past 8 months and our average is about $750 per month with the highest month being $940 and the lowest month $615.  I don't have a particular goal in mind but I'd like to see how much I can reduce it by just being mindful of what I'm buying and not wasting any food.  We are mostly vegan so our staples (e.g. rice and beans) are fairly cheap but we like to eat organic when possible so that increases our spending on produce a bit.

Here are the things I have done so far to reduce my spending:
1. Track grocery spending.
2. Eat pretty much the same things every week. So I can buy some stuff in bulk.
3. Don't waste any food. Everything I buy we eat.
3. Don't overeat (also helps with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight). I portion out the food so that we eat a sufficient amount without going overboard.
4. Switching from canned beans to dry beans.  I've started using my instant pot to cook dry beans which saves quite a bit and may be more nutritious and less caloric.
5. Cook from scratch as much as possible.
6. Stop/reduce drinking alcohol. We don't buy alcohol to drink at home anymore. I only drink about once or twice a month if I go out with friends or on special occasions.


February - $350
March - $430

Total for this month is significantly above last month but it makes sense because I bought some groceries for my mom when I was visiting her (about $80 worth).  I didn't really pay much attention to my grocery spend this month, just bought only what I needed and only bought fresh stuff (veggies and fruits) a few days in advance of using it. I find that we don't end up eating everything right on schedule so the fresh stuff ends up lasting a couple days more than I expect it to.  Also I'm pretty much cooking the same dishes more or less as last month. I'm pretty happy with this spending level for groceries.

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #442 on: April 06, 2018, 11:24:40 AM »
Hi everyone,

I hadn't seen this thread so haven't posted before but grocery's are my largest monthly spend so I wanted to take on the challenge to reduce them in 2018. I'm single so am in full control of what I eat. I've never had much food wastage and cook every night. I count eating out as entertainment rather than general food/grocery shopping. My numbers include cleaning products and the like, not just edibles. Apologies I'm in the UK so I deal in pounds and pence.

Last year my average monthly spend was £225.69
My target average monthly spend for 2018 is £179.99 (20% reduction)
My current actual average monthly spend for 2018 is £170.00

I am achieving this through a couple of main strategies:

1. Reducing my consumption of pre-prepared food. A good example of this is that instead of buying pre-cooked chicken slices for salads and things I now buy a whole chicken (with legs and everything) and roast it weekly. This gives me two meals and enough for taking salads to work every day. I also buy things like cabbage rather than bags of salad leaves.

2. My second strategy is to give myself time to perform the weekly shop properly. I used to be head down bomb around in as quick a time a possible. Although that was beneficial as it prevented impulse purchases (I only had time to get the items on my list) I wasn't able to spot offers on non-perishable items. So I am able to save money by looking for washing tablets for example, every time I go shopping regardless of whether I need them or not, so I can benefit from any discounts. I do this for all expensive items now and buy in bulk when a sale is on. Another example is that I have also found different flavour yogurts on sale some weeks. Historically I would have just grabbed the brand/flavour I aways get. Now having a bit more time to take a look provides the opportunity to see that often other brands/flavours are discounted e.g. 8 for the price of 4 etc. This approach is great across a wide range of products.

I was never particularly wasteful but have found it remarkable that I could reduce my bill by so much just through applying a bit of common sense really. There is nothing particularly clever in what I am doing. As with many of our expenses its putting some effort in rather than just floating along in life thinking what we are doing is normal and fine. My only regret is the money wasted over the years through not optimising things like this earlier.

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #443 on: April 06, 2018, 05:35:15 PM »
MY biggest recommendation re: TP is to get a $50 bidet from Home Depot or Amazon... Will help stretch those $$s much further.

But... your water bill probably increases, right?

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #444 on: April 09, 2018, 07:41:21 AM »
First week:  groceries $88 (better), HH $23 (monthly Amazon).  Bad news was takeout was around $50 again (damn you, new Krispy Kreme!).

On the plus side, I managed to cook for a party just out of my fridge and pantry without hitting the grocery store*, and even got rid of a bunch of beers that had been hanging around.  And it was all delicious. :-)   

*Ok, I needed one pepper.  But all of the other things I thought of making required a full shop, so I was happy to come up with chili. 

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #445 on: April 09, 2018, 08:19:16 AM »
I blew my April budget over the weekend.  I spent about 90% of the month's grocery budget in three hours (yay, Costco!).

I have several who are facing family crises at the moment, so I spent all day Saturday prepping casseroles to bring to them so they don't have to worry about meals for a while.  Each family got enough to feed them for 1 or 2 weeks.  Plus I now have 10 days' worth of food in my freezer.

The purpose fits my values, so I'm okay with spending the money.

However, because I do want to try to save still, today's lunch is going to be all the leftover veggies in the fridge.

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #446 on: April 11, 2018, 05:10:32 PM »
I am in for this as well. I never seem to leave the grocery store for less that $125 and that's weekly.
The sad part: My husband only eats home 4 days a week. How do I spend this much on mostly me?

The plan: Take stock of what I bought, what I ate and what got tossed.

fuzzy math

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #447 on: April 11, 2018, 07:45:16 PM »
MY biggest recommendation re: TP is to get a $50 bidet from Home Depot or Amazon... Will help stretch those $$s much further.

But... your water bill probably increases, right?

Only if you make bidet using an Olympic endurance event. I believe my water is billed in increments of 748 gallons, so my goal is obviously to use less than that.

fuzzy math

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #448 on: April 11, 2018, 07:47:48 PM »
April running total:

21 previously posted about
79 - roughly a  weeks worth of basics - packaged goods, produce, lunch fixings from Aldi last Thurs
--------
100 so far

Anticipating another smaller trip in the next 3 days or so

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #449 on: April 11, 2018, 07:52:46 PM »
I'm at $125 for the month so far. That's including a large "stock up" at Natural Grocers at the 1st of the month.

Going to Costco and Sprouts this weekend, so I'm sure that will be another $150.00. I only get to go to "real" stores every couple of months, so I tend to stock up while I'm there since all I have normally is Safeway.